Past Review

By (Anthropology., University of Houston) for

IFSA: Merida - Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I much prefer the spread-outness of a semester's workload as opposed to a summer's. I also learned that street vendors are extremely annoying, and that host families are composed of some of the kindest people on the PLANET!

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The scholastic system is a lot more lax in Mexico than in the US. Class hardly ever starts on time (one of my teachers was always about 40 minutes late, although that's a rarity) and our Mayan Culture teachers would actually proof our take-home exams before we turned them in, which pretty much guaranteed us an A. So don't stress. Just pace yourself and do you work (don't let it pile up), and you should be fine.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Diana, the on-site director, is so personable and really well-organized.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Jardines de Mérida. I loved how safe the city was. I was able to walk day or night, completely alone, and not worry about being mugged, raped, or whathaveyou. My host family provided me with WONDERFUL food day in and day out, and they were so quirky and caring. I loved them!! <br /><br /> See above.

* Food:

Please try two things while in Mexico: tacos al carbon and sopa de lima. And, I suppose, if you're still not satiated, you can throw in a panucho or two. Yucatecan food is delicious and, from what I've witnessed, the waitstaff is usually very helpful in making recommendations to puzzled Americans not used to dining at authentic Mexican restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to a lot of ancient Mayan ruins, which was beyond awesome considering an archaeologist/professor accompanied us on every single trip and actually EXPLAINED to us what we were seeing. Loved it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The hospital was only minutes away from our host university, which really came in handy when one girl had an allergic reaction in the school parking lot. Diana, the program director, drove us all there and the girl was treated immediately. As for me, I twisted my ankle at a dance club, and again, Diana came to the rescue and brought me back to the hotel ASAP and came in the next day to wrap my ankle and give me anti-inflammatory medicine. What an angel.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Some locals tried to speak English with me -- which annoyed the hell out of me since I came there to practice SPANISH -- but for the most part, my exchanges were in Spanish. I learned a lot of vocabulary while abroad (mostly thanks to my host family), but very little grammar. What also irritated me was that no one would correct my grammar, and being a non-native speaker, I'm sure I misspoke more than just a few times.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? See above.